I always remember the Remembrance Day celebrations in grade school: sitting on gym floors, reciting the poem, and offering a moment of silence for the fallen soldiers. After you no longer are required by the school to be a part of these celebrations, Remembrance Day can have alternate meanings for people.
In the paper this weekend, stories of families who lost someone, or survivors who fought in the wars were acknowledged. There were great stories of love and tragedy and how the war affected so many people’s lives. Soon, however, there no longer will be survivors alive to tell the stories, and again, Remembrance Day will change meaning.
I donate change and wear a poppy every year; it is the respectful thing to do. Normally I don’t think anything of it—it’s a tradition for most people every year. This weekend though, in light of the deaths in Ottawa and the poppy box thieves, I started thinking about what the poppy means for me. I don’t have close family members or friends, or even friend’s parents who served in the war, the deaths are past my generation. I wear the poppy to honour the soldiers that gave their lives for my freedom, but there is no particular person I am remembering.
For me, the poppy represents the peace and freedom I more often than not, take for granted. Because I wasn’t around for the tragic events, or even the aftermath of the war, wartime doesn’t cross my mind usually. I am safe and free all of the time (and I know I am extremely lucky to be living in this country as opposed to places that do not have these same types of luxury). If there is a day to stop and think about what no peace and freedom would mean, this is it. I wear the poppy because these soldiers gave us the freedom and security that I take advantage of everyday.
This year may mean more to people than years before because of the tragedies that happened in Ottawa in late October. For those people like me who have no close relatives to wear the poppy for, this year the poppy signifies the deaths of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.
Where a poppy, and remember.
Why do you wear a poppy?